[ROC Passport] Overseas Chinese passport? Can I get one?

Here is my situation:
My father was born in mainland China, but lived for a while post-1949 in Taiwan. He currently holds both a UK and an ROC passport.
I was born in England and have a UK passport.

My father had an overseas ROC passport for a while (with an X before the passport #) but it was recently replaced by what seems to be a full passport, with a normal number, issued by the Taipei Representative Office (TRO) in London. In the passport, under “Nationality”, it reads “Republic of China”. He has not spent any significant amount of time in Taiwan since childhood.

My questions are:

  1. Was being born in mainland China before 1949 the equivalent of being born in the “Republic of China”?
  2. Could I apply successfully for an overseas ROC passport as the child of an ROC citizen?
  3. Could I work legally? It seems from other threads that overseas ROC passport holders are in the same boat as regular foreigners (just with longer staying privileges); however, it also appears as if lots of them are also working.

I’d be grateful for any clarification on these matters before i call up the nice but underinformed ladies at the TRO.


I think once past a certain age (18? 20? 21?) you can no longer claim ROC nationality based on your parents. Hartzell?

I suggest that you make inquiries with the TECRO in London and demand a complete and detailed explanation in writing !

I guess the Nationality Law of the PRC is similar in the ROC, Hong Kong SAR and the PRC. Any Chinese national is entitled to the Right of Abode in his/her country, Chinese Nationality is derived from their birth in such state, birth to one or both of their parents(If at the time of birth they were a citizen of the PRC, HKSAR or ROC), and living more than 7 years consecutive in the HKSAR, ROC or PRC. You are not allowed to claim nationality after you have attained the age of 21 (at least in the HKSAR). I’m 18 and claimed HKSAR citizenship a few years ago, as I was born in Canada to both parents who were HKSAR nationals, I assume that this law is similar in the ROC, as the HKSAR and PRC share the same Nationality laws.

Unfortunately, an “overseas ROC passport” does not guarantee you Right of Abode anywhere within the Taiwan area.

At the present time, the simplest way to determine if the ROC passport you have includes “Right of Abode” is to look and see if an ID card number is indicated. If not, then you only have very limited “visitation rights”. Needless to say, if you only have “visitation rights”, you do not have “work rights” unless you can prove to the ROC authorities that you are of “single nationality.” However, I know of no government department which issues certification attesting to this . . . . . . and since ROC government agencies do not accept the “taking of an oath” as proof in any formal administrative matters . . . . . . I have never been able to determine how this “single nationality” is to be proven.

I did help a Chinese refugee from northern Thailand get a letter from the CLA one time, attesting to the fact that he had “free work rights” in the ROC area, based on his Thai Refugee certificate and overseas ROC passport. (He grew up in Thailand.) However, since all the employers he approached had never seen such a letter before, and the employers are aware that they can be subject to fines for illegally hiring “foreigners”, so of course this letter wasn’t of much value.

For those who have no other passport, an “overseas ROC passport” is just a step above statelessness.

I think it works like this, you are eligible for the overseas ROC passport, if you do not hold another foreign passport, because I have friends here, that hold ROC citizen passports and Canadian or U.S. passport. Also to determine ROA, in the passport it is normally stated, in my HKSAR passport, it clearly states “Holder has the Right of Abode in Hong Kong”. This is confusing, so a ROC citizen living overseas can only get a overseas passport? Even if they completed their military service etc, etc, etc? I only went to Hong Kong 5 times in my life, but I am still able to get a passport stating I have the ROA in the HKSAR. Becuase Chinese Nationality laws state you may hold a Passport issued by the HKSAR, Macau SAR, PRC, (maybe ROC) and any other foreign passports.

I have read this sentence several times, but I can’t understand it.

At any rate, when applying for an overseas ROC passport, one major requirement is that you do have another nationality. That is based on my experience with the Thai refugee, as mentioned above.

The ROC overseas office in Bangkok filed a statement with the Bureau of Entry and Exit that their issuance of an ROC passport to him was a mistake, since he did not possess citizenship rights or residency rights in any other country. The judge in the Taipei High Administrative Court said that he failed to see why “citizenship” in another country, or “residency rights” in another country should be a requirement for getting an ROC passport . . . . . . and this shows you the illogic and total lack of attention to “human rights” in the entire process.

Oh well, we lost the case anyway. I will appeal to the Taiwan Supreme Court, but I am not sure it is favorable.

I have been trying to determine if I am eligible for an overseas ROC passport. I found two official web sites on ROC passport eligibility:

[1] boca.gov.tw/~boca4002/en/

[2] boca.gov.tw/~boca4002/ch/index1.htm#law1

I was born in Hong Kong (with a valid HK ID card), became a Canadian citizen many years ago, moved to the U.S. six years ago and obtained a green card three years ago. I am now living in the U.S. According to the above web pages, an overseas Hong Kong resident is eligible for an overseas ROC passport. However, it is vague on whether I need to provide evidence of ROC citizenship. I have no connection with the ROC in my life except that I am a Chinese. I called the ROC office in New York; the person in charge first told me that I was ineligible for an overseas ROC passport since Hong Kong is now under Communist China

Bearing in mind that an Overseas ROC passport does not give you the right to work or live in the ROC it is not much use. It is, as Hartzell points out, just one small step above statelessness, in fact the documents is not much more use than a 1951 Convention travel document.

I hate to be impolite . . . . but why would you assume that the people who visit these pages would know more than the ROC Overseas Representative Office in New York???

Personally . . . . . I think that you are approaching it the wrong way by calling the office up. Why don’t you present the matter a different way? Write the New York Office an official letter, send it in by registered mail, and then send a copy to MOFA-BOCA in Taipei . . . . . . say that you called on the telephone and the person who answered didn’t even know the regulations!!!

So now you are submitting a written letter, and if you do not receive a full and detailed reply in three weeks you will be writing to Legislators of your acquaintance and also sending a report to the Control Yuan . . . . .

MY POINT IS THIS: Why do you put up with this type of incompetence? Don’t you think these people are being paid to sit in the New York Representative Office and answer questions?? If they aren’t doing a good job . . . . . why don’t you take them to task about it???

Again I don’t want to appear impolite . . . . . however, do you really think that by not demanding a full and complete answer their bureaucratic efficiency will ever improve???

Are you the only person who has ever had this type of question??? I doubt it. Is it a highly unusual question? I don’t think so. Hence, they should know the answer.

So . . . . . it comes back to you . . . . . . why do you take I don’t know . . . . for an answer . . . . . when it is a question of clarifying your rights?

It is not unusual that officials don’t know and in some cases pretend not to know common regulations related to their duties. It is like some medical doctors who are not up today on their medical knowledge and often make misdiagnoses, even on common ailments. When I applied for my green card in the U.S., I frequently visited immigration forums on the Internet. I was puzzled by so many people complained about the notorious U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) mishandled their cases and some lawyers misguided their clients. When dealing with bureaucracy, the burden is on the individual to become knowledgeable first and provide the necessary evidence to support his case. The Internet and forums like this are the best resources to gather information and learn from other people’s experience. Confrontation and escalation to a higher level could make things worse and should be reserved as last resorts.

I agree with Hartzell that if the officials in these overseas offices don’t know the regulations you should complain, complain, and complain again!!! These people are being paid salaries for heavens sake!!!

Complain to them, and take your friends along . . . . give them a hard time . . . . then get their names and report them to MOFA . . . . and ask that they be fired!!!

Why should you put up with such incompetence??

P.S. Maybe now you know why the Republic of China is not respected internationally!!! It is because the government officials are a bunch of illiterate jerks who have no respect for human rights!!!

After a few months of trying to get an (overseas) ROC passport from the New York office, I have lost hope. The verdict for refusal is that I am also a Canadian citizen in addition to my Hong Kong citizenship. I foolishly gave them copies of my certificate of Canadian citizenship and Canadian passport when I submitted my passport application. I have done my homework thoroughly before hand but mistakenly thought that my Canadian citizenship would help. It turned out that I gave them an excuse for refusal. The reason for refusal is rather ridiculous. In Section 19 of the Passport Regulations, it stipulates that an overseas Hong Kong resident is eligible for an (overseas) ROC passport. In the letter of refusal, it quotes the definition of a Hong Kong resident from the Hong Kong/Macao Relationship Act, Section 4, as one who doesn